Did you know that being vegan isn’t just about food?
If a product is labeled as “vegan” then it must not contain any animal ingredients (eg. beeswax).
More and more cosmetic companies have started creating products that vegans can use. So does this mean you should ditch your beauty products for something new?
And why should we care about vegan beauty anyway?
Why You Should Care About Vegan Beauty
Vegan beauty has been gaining a lot of traction lately, especially among Millennials.
According to research, more than half of the millennials (the biggest demographic in the US right now) are interested in vegan products.
You should care about vegan beauty if you care about animals
If you’re vegan, there’s a good chance that animal welfare is one of the reasons you decided to become vegan.
Animal testing is banned in the U.S., but it’s still a common practice in China and other countries that cosmetic companies export their products to.
By going with cruelty-free brands, you can be confident that no animals were harmed during their production process.
You should care about vegan beauty if you care about the environment
The meat industry has been linked to deforestation, bad air quality, and water pollution.
Choosing products free of animal products also means less demand for these animal byproducts—a move that may have an impact on the environmental problems caused by raising them for food or labor purposes.
You should care about vegan beauty if you care about your health
There are some ingredients used in cosmetics and personal care products (think: phthalates, parabens) whose effects are not fully understood yet—but some research suggests they might be risky to your health over time.
Plus, according to an interview with HelloGiggles, many non-vegan hair products contain formaldehyde—the same stuff used for embalming bodies!
To avoid these questionable ingredients altogether, feel free to go all-natural with your hair and skin routine; there are tons of at-home recipes available online that use ingredients like coconut oil, essential oils, honey, and aloe vera as hair masks or moisturizers!
What Exactly Is Vegan Beauty?
So what exactly is vegan beauty?
The definition of vegan beauty isn’t as clear-cut as you might think. While the term “vegan” is often used to describe a lifestyle that is free of animal products, the same isn’t necessarily true of beauty.
In short, this means that a product can be said to be vegan if it doesn’t contain any ingredients derived from animals or animal byproducts (AKA honey and beeswax).
However, a product does not need to be cruelty-free in order for it to be considered “vegan.”
A company could make a product without testing on animals but still include ingredients like lanolin (which is derived from sheep’s wool) in their formulas.
This means that some brands create products that are both vegan and cruelty-free and others create products that are only one or neither of those things.
How to Find Out if a Product Is Free From Animal Products?
1. Check the ingredient list
Many ingredients derived from animals are easy to spot because they are commonly used words, like beeswax, honey, or lanolin.
Others have less recognizable names that may be listed in Latin or a scientific name (such as retinol, collagen, and elastin) on an ingredient label.
2. Look for a vegan certification logo
A number of third-party organizations verify whether a product contains no animal byproducts of any kind—from raw ingredients to finished products—and award these products with a “certified vegan” logo, which you can find on the packaging or directly on the website.
3. Look for a cruelty-free certification logo
Some companies that don’t use animal-derived ingredients still test their products on animals for consumer safety and regulatory reasons, which is why it’s important to look for the Leaping Bunny symbol (unlike PETA’s symbol, this one requires companies to sign and uphold a commitment statement).
The Leaping Bunny Program is considered one of the most rigorous across many industries and has even been awarded by World Animal Protection.
4. Contact the company if you are not sure
If none of these methods provide you with enough information regarding whether an item is free from animal products or animal testing, contact the company directly through their customer service email address or phone number that should be listed somewhere on their website or product packaging.
Is Vegan Beauty Better for Your Skin?
Unfortunately, no. ““People should know that just because a product is vegan doesn’t mean it’s going to be good for them,” says Dr. Nava Greenfield, M.D., a dermatologist based in New York City.
Traditional skincare lines may use ingredients like honey and beeswax that aren’t necessarily bad for your skin—but if you’re allergic to those ingredients, the traditional products might not be right for you.
Similarly, vegan beauty brands don’t always use only ingredients that are good for your skin; some do contain harsh chemicals or allergens, so it’s important to read labels carefully before taking the plunge into any new product.
A great way to figure out which beauty products are best suited for your needs is to schedule time with a dermatologist who can help you make an informed decision about what will work best with your specific type of skin and lifestyle—vegan or otherwise.